Why We’re Paying Cash For Our Next Vehicle

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

The biggest things going on in our financial lives right now involve vehicles.

We’re hustling hard to have our current vehicle paid off by Christmas (a year early) and working hard to meet our savings goal of buying a second used car, in cash, by July. I’m happy to report both are going well.

Someone suggested to me recently that rather than buy a cheap, used, second vehicle we should use our cash as sizeable downpayment on a brand new car instead. As tempting as this is (who doesn’t love new, warranty covered, vehicles?), it’s not something we’re even entertaining.

For one, we want to buy this second car ASAP. June ideally, before we’re running to soccer games after work twice a week and I struggle to even get there due to lack of vehicle. If we were to do as suggested, putting a downpayment and finance the rest, it would mean we are taking on a second car payment before our other vehicle is paid off. I don’t want one car payment, let alone two, and even if we could pay it off relatively fast, I do not want to even fathom what might happen if something happened to one or both vehicles if they were both carrying loans.

Taking on a second car payment would definitely delay paying off our current vehicle and other financial goals. Not worth it.

The goal is to pay off debt, not take more on.

We’re at a point in our lives where we can’t live with one vehicle anymore. Even if we lived smack downtown with walking amenities almost at our fingertips, the fact would still remain both Mike and I need our own vehicles. He travels all over hell and creation for work and will leave town on a days notice. With a kid who’s involved in stuff and us traveling to family and friends all over the city, I can’t be left without a vehicle anymore.  That doesn’t mean I need brand new though.

We’re looking for a used vehicle but just because it will be well loved, likely have a decent amount of mileage on it, and in the range of 7-10 years old, doesn’t mean it’s write-off though. My first vehicle was a 14 year old car when I bought it for $750.00. In three years I put a total of $300 into the vehicle and sold it for $800.00. When it comes to cars, this is a pretty good deal.

While we’re looking to spend more than $750 this time around, I am confident our budget will find us what we’re looking for. Something safe, reliable and will serve our family the next few years.

Any tips for when we do go shopping in next few months?

Points to Consider When Opening a Restaurant or Bar Serving Alcohol

the-bottle-427953_640When opening up a new bar or restaurant where liquor will be served, there are several different important points you need to consider. With the inclusion of alcohol, regardless of kind, it opens your business up to potential problems and new government agencies looking into your facility. While this should not frighten you away from following through with your business ideas, you do need to educate yourself on a few important points before moving forward. This way, you can avoid possible issues further on down the road.

Liquor License

Opening up a bar or any other facility where alcohol is served requires a liquor license. Now, if you are a restaurant you can start to serve food before you receive the liquor license. Additionally, there are different kinds of licenses out there you can apply for. If you need specific help in filing the paperwork and knowing where to take your completed documentation, make sure to seek out a liquor law attorney. Most locations offer a general license for beer and wine with a secondary license for higher alcohol spirits. However, this is not something you simply pay a fee and sign some paperwork for.

Most communities allow a set number of bars and alcohol serving restaurants within a given location. So, what does this mean if you have purchased a new building, signed an extended lease or have run into some other issue where you discover all of the allotted liquor licenses are taken in the given area? You do have a couple options. First, you can purchase the liquor license from a location that currently holds one. If a company is going out of business or is looking to sell, it is in your best interest to move on the license before allowing it to expire. Should it expire, another business owner may move in ahead of you to obtain the license.

Move in Waves

Depending on the business you wish to open, you might be able to apply for a lower level beer and wine license before pushing ahead for the higher alcohol license. Many communities allow more locations to serve beer and wine than spirits. Due to this, if you want to at least open the doors of your business to the community, starting out with a beer and wine license before obtaining a liquor license may prove to be in your best interest. This is something you can discuss with your liquor law attorney.

Added Inspections

With the inclusion of alcohol in your restaurant or bar, you now open yourself up to new government officials and a new set of inspections. As just a restaurant serving food, you fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. Smaller departments within the FDA inspect your restaurant to ensure it remains a safe, sanitized location to consume food. With alcohol, your restaurant now also falls under the jurisdiction of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm, or ATF. Generally the property inspectors are able to look over both aspects of your business, but keep in mind it does open you up to additional scrutiny from the external organizations.

Adding a liquor license can prove especially beneficial for a restaurant as it offers customers an additional element to purchase. However, it also requires some additional work, opens up a business to added inspections and requires specific licenses. For assistance with any such license, whether it is maintaining it or obtaining it, a liquor law attorney is able to help with this. Seeking out their assistance before going after the license may prove to be your restaurant’s best course of action.

Life and Money Updates

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My favorite summer sunsets are at the cottage.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these since I stopped doing the monthly debt repayment updates.

Not much as changed (no change is good sometimes!). We ended up experiencing a little lapse in insurance coverage these last few months as Mike’s employer switched providers at the end of the year and forgot few people- us included. It was stressful but so glad we had the emergency fund if (and when) we needed it. Thankfully it’s all figured out now and we’re now in the process or seeing if we’re going to be reimbursed for what we did buy upfront.

We’re still in the process of saving to buy a second car, aiming for end of July. It will be so nice to not have to scramble to get picked up somewhere and rush off to the soccer field like a maniac twice a week. Mike will soon be able to just take Maria to the field and I’ll get there when I can after work.

Buying the second car has me really thinking about where we want to move, something we plan on doing in next two years. I totally understand the whole higher living expenses to be in a downtown urban core/ no need for second car (or even one car in some cases) but quite honestly I have no desire to live in the city. I would happily live in the middle of the country with cows in my yard if it didn’t mean driving an hour to dance class every week. We’ve settled on the suburbs…just not sure which one. I think next year we’ll spend time starting to check open houses out to clarify our wants and needs when we go to put our house on the market.

The other thing we have been saving for was a shed. Our house has no real external storage so my one small storage room is so full I can’t even walk around with a laundry basket in hand. Our summer tires are stored at my sister-in-laws garage, our lawn mower too…our snowblower is under a huge camping tarp and we have three bikes in my house. The house came with a shed but it was dilapidated so we ripped it down and have missed it every day since. This was a good expense though since I know it will help when we go to sell. We also got a smokin’ deal (of course). It was regular $1100 for a sided gable 8’x10′ shed and we got it for $698 everything down to the roofing nails were included. For the cost of a lunch out we had Mikes coworker pick everything up and deliver it across town to our house too! Now we just need to recruit a little man (and woman) power to help assemble it in next week or two.

We’re starting to plan our summer and very much looking forward to it. It will be a low-key summer since we went away in March. We’re taking a few long weekends to go to the family cottage and one weekend camping at a national park in a neighboring province. We splurged with this camping trip though, instead of bringing our tent we rented an oTentik which is essentially a permanent canvas tent with beds a full propane BBq is also included which is an added bonus. We’re also planning on taking in an airshow which is always fun.

How is everyone else doing? Also, can someone please explain to me why we must pay tax on a used car when the tax was paid when the car was purchased new?! Isn’t that double dipping by the government?! So annoying.

Selling Your Home: A Step-by-Step Mini-Guide for Easing the Entire Process

shutters-669296_640Selling your home can be a stressful experience. There is so much to consider, and so many things to do. You can make the process go a lot more smoothly by planning out the steps in advance, so here is a quick guide to the whole process so you know what awaits you.

Tell Your Mortgage Lender

If you are still paying off a mortgage on your existing property, you will have to let your mortgage lender know that you are planning to sell it. Are there any penalties? How much is your outstanding mortgage? These are things you will have to find out.

You should also find out how much your property is worth, and how much you will have once you pay off your mortgage, as well as finding out about getting a new mortgage.

Find an Estate Agent

You can sell your property on your own, but most people choose to sell through an experienced estate agent. To find an estate agent, research agents in your area and find one you are happy with. You might prefer to use an online estate agent instead.

Decide on a Price

How much to sell your property for? That is one of the biggest questions to answer. Get help from estate agents in your area, who can provide you with a valuation, and do your own research in the local market as well. Also decide on how much you will be willing to accept once the negotiations begin.

Hire a Solicitor

You will need to hire a solicitor to do all the legal work, so look for experienced conveyancing solicitors to help you. Find one before you sell your property, and you can choose a local solicitor or find one online.

From Offer to Move

After everything is in place, you simply have to wait for the offers to come in. Your estate agent will pass these onto you, and you can begin the negotiations. You will have to formally accept an offer when you are happy, and then take the property off the market.

This is not legally binding, and you can change your mind. But it is better for everyone involved to stick to it.

Negotiate the contract with the buyer, including how long it will take to complete, with anywhere up to 28 days being normal. Then you will exchange contracts, and this is a legal commitment.

The sale is then completed, the keys are handed over, and the money is transferred. Your solicitor will register the transfer with the Land Registry, and you are ready to enjoy your new property.

When Is the Best Time to Sell?

Spring is usually touted as the best time to sell a property because your home will probably look its best, and there are no major holidays like in the summer. Autumn is often good, but winter is difficult, especially around Christmas. That being said, the best time to sell varies depending on your local area.

Start Planning to Sell Your Property

Selling a property is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be too stressful if you know what to expect. Keep all of these stages in mind when you start the process, and take it one step at a time to ensure a smooth sale.

Samuel Davidson works as an estate agent. Used to advising on selling, as well as buying property, he has decided to share his expertise online to help others.

4 Signs You’re Not Ready to Buy a House

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

The world will have you believe that homeownership is something everyone should strive for. Advertisements make it seem deceivingly easy too- like anyone and everyone can, and should, do it. Some even go as far as to question your personal choices if you’re not doing it, ”all the cool kids are doing it”- kind of tactics. The thing is though, homeownership is not for everyone. The reasons will differ for everyone but there are a few universal rules that everyone can follow and help them decide if they’re ready.

You Don’t Have a Budget

If you’re not currently budgeting, and don’t have any sweet clue the kind of money that flows in and out of your bank account on a monthly basis, you need to figure this out before you look into taking on a mortgage. A terrifying thing happens when you let the bank tell you what you can ”afford”- you’ll likely end up way over your head. If we listed to the bank when we went a few years ago about what we can afford according to them we’d be in one hell of a situation! We’d never be able to pay our debt off that’s for sure. We knew our budget well enough to know what kind of mortgage we would be comfortable carrying. Get used to managing your money before taking on such a huge commitment!

You Need to Borrow Money for a Downpayment

If you can’t come up with your own downpayment you likely can’t afford to take care of your finances and home. Saving for a downpayment is a good demonstration of financial maturity. Make sure you consider all extra closing costs too and don’t leave yourself short.

If you’re gifted the money, but have good financial know-how that’s different from being unable to have the control to save the money required to buy a home.

You’re Income is Unstable

If you have an income that’s unstable you should not be considering buying a home. Wait until you’re in a stable financial situation before embarking on homeownership. If your income varies greatly wait until it either stables out or until you can afford a major down payment to offset the mortgage payment.

You Have Consumer Debt

Do not buy a house until you get your debt under control, especially consumer debt. If you have credit card debt work on that first before saving for a downpayment. If you have a budget you should be able to work out a payment plan and have an idea about when you’ll be debt free and how long it ill take you to save for a downpayment.

Owning a home can be a great investment when the timing is right and you have your finances under control. Don’t let advertising rush you into doing something too soon though or you may come to regret it!

Do you have any regrets with your first home purchase?

Independent Vs. Restricted Advisers: A Commonsense Comparison

office-620822_640You know you need financial advice, but you’re not sure whom you can trust. It’s typical. While some people tout the benefits of an independent advisor, others say you should stick to restricted ones. Here’s what you need to know about both so you can make the right decision.

Independent Financial Advisor

An independent financial advisor is probably the most common of the two, especially since 2013. Independent financial advisors don’t work directly for a firm that requires exclusivity or a non-compete agreement.

Because of this, the advisor is free to establish himself as a private business offering financial products and services.

Some advisors operate as a broker, while others operate as fee-for-services advisors.

A broker sells financial products, usually on a commissioned basis. Today, the law restricts this activity, so you normally only see commissioned advisors with some type of insurance product.

Most independent financial advisors in the UK charge an hourly fee, a percentage of the money you’ll be saving, a flat fee, or some other fee-based structure which is apparent before you sign a contract to do business with him.

A few advisors charge a fee based on the amount of money that you have them manage for you, called “assets under management.” This fee is typically between 1 and 2 percent of those assets.

Unlike other types of advisors, independent advisors try to position themselves as “comprehensive” in nature. This means that they attempt to deal with every aspect of financial planning, and do not specialize in any one area.

They can, for example, recommend Jayne and Moss if you’re looking to buy a home, help you plan the mortgage payments and loan process, and even help connect you to a real estate broker. They can then turn around and provide advisement on investments and insurance. Or, they can help you with your budget and savings plan, advise you about your pension, and help you figure out whether an annuity makes sense when you retire.

These types of professionals typically work with you on a “client engagement” basis. This means you sign an agreement with them to do business for a set number of months, up to a year. At the end of the planning engagement, you can either resign for another year or switch advisors.

Independent financial advisors are not tied to any one financial firm, so many feel that their advice is unbiased.

On the other hand, because they are not experts in any one area of financial planning, and they do not have close-knit relationships that come with being a restricted advisor, they may not have the same kind of specialized knowledge that a restricted advisor has, and thus may not fully understand the financial products or services they’re recommending.

Restricted Financial Advisor

A restricted financial advisor is one who works exclusively with one financial services firm. He or she only recommends products and services offered by that firm, and rarely, if ever, sells outside of that firm.

Because of this, the restricted advisor has intimate knowledge of financial products and services that that firm sells. The advisor may also have relationships with key contacts within the company that can help the advisor better understand the products and services.
For example, a restricted advisor working for a life insurance company might have relationships with internal wholesalers, external wholesalers, actuaries who design products, and management that understands how the insurer manages the money in the general investment account.

The advisor’s team of professionals can provide absolute clarity and financial education where the independent cannot, since he is an independent advisor who doesn’t work for the firm.

Which Should You Choose?

Both types of advisors have their strengths and weaknesses, but you can generally count on an independent advisor if you need someone who will “shop the market” for you for inexpensive products and services. Independent advisors are also good if you just want financial advice and don’t want to buy products.

Independent advisors may also be able to show you products and services that you wouldn’t ever think to buy or invest in, can educate you on a wide range of options, and can provide you with more non-investment advice that is independent of product offerings.

On the other hand, if you already know you want a particular product or service, go to a financial advisor working for that company and buy direct. You’ll find you get more personalized service, and often better advice about that product and service line than an independent advisor can offer.

Benjamin Butler is a finance major who plans to enter the world of finance as an accountant. Numbers have always come easily to Ben, but he also has an interest in words, and enjoys writing articles for both business and personal finance blogs.

Things That Made Me Shake My Head While Working as a Cashier

When I was in highschool I got a job working as a cashier at the same drugstore my mom worked at. She was the local pharmacist and the front store manager was frustrated with immature and flaky employees so they finally broke the ”no family members” rule and hired me knowing my reliability and maturity (or maybe it was the fact that they could track my mom down pretty easily if I started slacking?).

I actually loved this job. It had sweet hours (never worked later than 7pm on weekends) and I was making almost $2.00 more per hour than the current minimum wage. Something I grew to love from this job was working with the public. I know it’s not for everyone but I really enjoyed getting to know the regulars and even the drama queens that would come in. In the almost five years I was there I experienced a few insane recurring moments that made me shake my head though like…

Coming in with a well-overdue utilities bill and buying lotto instead.

Our store used to take a few utilities payments for the bank and I will never forget the time a lady came in with a hugely overdue power bill. It was something like $2,000. She had a handful of cash with her looking to pay the bill down, probably at least $1,000 in bills. Thinking I was about to take a sizeable payment from her I called my supervisor to take the cash to the safe….

Instead she makes a $200 payment on her bill and gives me another $400 to buy LOTTO TICKETS. I certainly couldn’t say anything, I was a 16 year old kid working the cash but needless to say my mind was blown. I totally get that people can fall behind on their bills but how in good conscience could she drop double the amount on lotto instead?

The pop consumption, and money spent on it.

Pop (or soda as you Americans like to call it ;)) isn’t cheap. At least not where we live. If it’s not on sale, you’re looking at $2.00+ per large (name brand) bottle. When it does go one sale you’re looking at $1.25/bottle- still isn’t cheap considering we live in an area with good, safe and free water. Don’t get me wrong, I get that people have their vices and enjoy different things, what got me were the people who would come in, always complaining about not having enough money and spending at least $10-$15 every time pop was on sale to stock up. Even if you bought spring water it’s still ringing in at 1/3 the price, not on sale.

People who leave their change behind.

I understand people who tip but I would never tip the cashier who rang in my stuff, yet people did it all the time. A penny or two, I get walking away from, but some people would come in, usually in a rush, spend $3.00, throw a $5 bill at me and run out the door. I’d always try to get them their money but 90% of the time they’d say ”keep it”. It didn’t just happen once it happened all the time. Maybe it was the small store, I don’t know, but I couldn’t believe the money people would just walk away from. There was one very notorious man who we started a ”change envelope” for. He was in all the time telling us to keep the change but when it went from $0.05 to like $2.00 quite frequently, we’d throw it in the envelope and give it to him. He’d always take the cash (usually $10+) and buy us treats but we felt a little less guilty. How do people walk away from their change so frequently?

Working in customer service will certainly open your eyes to many things, little did I know many years ago I was actually picking up a few early personal finance lessons…

What have you learned working in customer service?

Clearing the Currency Confusion: All About the Many Types of Financial Advisers

image1Do you need a financial advisor, a financial planner, or an investment advisor? Do you even know the difference?

Most don’t. Before you say “yes” to anyone, here’s what you need to know.

Financial Advisors

The generic term “financial advisor” can apply to any number of people. There are advisors who give general financial planning advice, mortgage advice, and sell pension and insurance products.

If you’re looking to buy a home, for example, you’d visit chappellandmatthews.co.uk for details and ask to speak to a real estate and mortgage advisor.

You wouldn’t get investment advice – just mortgage advice.

But, if you needed insurance advice, you might hire an insurance specialist or a pension specialist. These people deal in retirement products and charge a fee for services. You can get advice about how much to save, invest, what you should do with your pension account and how to allocate money among various annuities or other retirement savings products.

They do not collect commissions, so you can be sure you’re paying a fee and getting advice based on that instead of straight-up product pitches.

Finally, there are insurance advisors or salespeople. These individuals sell insurance products for a commission. They can sell automobile, home, life insurance and other insurance products. Usually, their focus is on protection-based financial products, not investments.

These professionals are also sales-focused. So, while you might be looking for advice, it’s going to be difficult to get a wide range of recommendations that fall outside of the advisor’s expertise or product knowledge. And, you may not get advice about products that the advisor doesn’t happen to sell. These advisors are best to work with only after you know what you need and want.

The Financial Planner

A financial planner is sometimes thought of as a financial advisor, but the term is much more specific. A financial planner is an individual who designs and creates a financial plan which is comprehensive in nature, or is as least broad in one area of financial planning.

For example, a financial planner will help you understand investing, insurance, budgeting, saving money, debt management, and other aspects of personal finance.

The planner might also just advise you on one aspect of your finances, however. For example, you may only get advice about insurance or investing. But, the advice will tend to be broad and wide. In other words, you will get multiple recommendations and a comprehensive analysis of your investments, instead of product pitches and a narrow focus on sales.

The financial planner will also put together a formalized plan for you to look over and then help you implement that plan.

The advisor may charge a fee, or charge fees and earn a commission from the sale of products. Usually, financial planners stick to a fee-only model.

The Investment Advisor

An investment advisor is a single-focused type of financial advisor. He or she deals only with investment services. A true investment advisor also analyzes stocks and other equity investment, along with bond-based and income-producing investments.

For an investment advisor, investments are the core business.

Some investment advisors are making a crossover transition, however, and offering basic financial planning services. However, their core business is still investment management.

With an investment advisor, you hand your money over to the advisor and give him or her either discretionary trading authority or full trading authority or partial authority over your investment money.

The advisor then either trades entirely on your behalf or uses an approval system to alert you of when he or she wants to make trades on your behalf (you must approve them).

When you give the advisor full trading authority, the advisor trades without your explicit consent for each trade. Consent is given during the initial agreement and continues until you terminate the relationship.

Advisors who work under this model typically charge a fee based on assets held under management, sometimes referred to as “AUM.” This fee is a percentage of the total assets you hold with your advisor, and typically ranges from between .5% and 1.5%, with some advisors charging up to 2%.

Because the fees tend to be expensive, and the investment management is extensive and time-consuming, advisors tend to set asset limits. This means that you must be willing to give the advisor a certain minimum amount of money before he or she will work with you. If you don’t, then the advisor won’t sign any kind of agreement with you.

It is for this reason that investment advisors are often seen as advisors for high net worth individuals.

Georgina Griffiths is studying finance and plans to become an accountant when she graduates. In the meantime she enjoys spending some of her free time blogging for a mixture of business and personal finance sites.

Finding a Financial Adviser: Practical Pointers for Picking the Perfect Money Expert

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Managing your finances is not always easy. In fact, many people find it a real struggle, and this can lead to financial problems. Whether you are already facing financial difficulties, you are planning to make a big financial decision, or you simply want to avoid problems in the future, using the services of a professional financial adviser can be a great idea.

But how should you go about finding the right financial adviser for you? Here are some tips to get you started on your search.

Choose an Independent Financial Adviser

Independent financial advisers, or IFAs, are what you are looking for in most situations. This means a financial adviser who can provide independent advice and who can recommend products across the market, and that means you get the best advice for your situation.

The other option is a restricted adviser. This means an adviser who can only recommend particular products. A restricted adviser may simply be restricted by the type of product they provide, rather than by the actual provider of the products, so this is often fine if you are looking for that specific type of product.

Start Your Search

Once you decide that you want to hire a financial adviser and you know the different between an IFA and a restricted adviser, you can start your search.

Ask for recommendations from family and friends. This is one of the best ways to find an adviser because you will already know they provide a good service.

You may also want to look in newspapers and telephone directories where you will find many listed in your local area.

You could also find one online, and there are various websites that you can find by using a search engine.

Or you could go direct to a service that has a good reputation. To find out more about a service, look for online reviews from third parties, which will often provide you with a good general overview.

Ask the Right Questions

Before you hire any adviser, even one who has been highly recommended, you should always ask them some questions. Financial advice is a very personal issue, and each case will be different, so you want to make sure they will provide you with the service that you need for your situation.

First, find out whether they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA monitors advisers, so check the FCA website to find out whether they are authorised

Ask whether they provide a free first meeting. This is the standard arrangement, and it gives you a chance to talk to them, decide whether you like them and ask more questions.

You will probably already know whether they are independent or restricted, but ask them now if you are unsure.

Ask about their qualifications. IFAs must pass their Level 4 qualifications, and they should be able to show you a Diploma in Financial Planning (DipFP) at the very least.

Also ask about the specific products you are interested in. For example, you may be using an estate agent like www.abbotts.co.uk to buy a property, in which case you may want advice on mortgages.

Ask about communication. How will they provide you with the advice? Will it be in person or over email? Will they create a report? Do the different methods have different costs?

Find Out the Price

Importantly, also ask about the price that you will be charged, and how you will be charged for the service. You should be given a ‘key-facts document’, and this provides details of the relationship to expect as well as the fees.

They may charge you a fee, but on some products like life insurance and income protection insurance they may take a commission. The fee could be a flat fee or hourly, so always find out and make sure you are happy with the arrangement before you hire your adviser.

Prepare to Answer the Adviser’s Questions

It’s best to go in prepared to get the most from the initial meeting, so as well as asking questions, also be prepared to answer questions. They will ask about you, your situation, your requirements, and which services you want advice on.

Once you decide to use them, they will probably want to gather information about your finances, which is usually called a ‘fact-find’. They will ask about your situation, your savings, debts, future plans, earnings, so take as much information with you as possible.

Find the Most Suitable Financial Adviser

These are some of the things to consider when you are looking for a financial adviser to help you, whatever you need advice on. Hiring an adviser can be a great idea, especially when you have important financial decisions to make, so plan your search carefully and find the right adviser.

Connor Walters has worked in financial planning for several years. He can often be found giving out free advice to friends, family and a wider online audience through blogging, forums and social media platforms.

We Took a Vacation and Stayed on Budget!

wp-1459390559166.jpgEarlier this week we arrived home from our first vacation in many years. Not only was this our first time away in a while, it was the first time we’ve been away without kiddo. We had a great time and managed to stay on budget too!

The trip planning process started over a year ago. Nashville wasn’t the original destination but for a few different reasons that was where we ended up and we had a blast. I had been before but was many years ago and experiencing Nashville as a child, versus adult was much different, we all loved it.

A big reason for our trip was going to a hockey game, all other details were planned around our timeline and the game. For a five day trip we managed to squeeze a lot out of what Nashville had to offer. We all left feeling satisfied, like we had really ”done” the city.

There were a total of six of us traveling. Traveling as a group helped. We overall had more saving by splitting the cost 3 ways (couples) than we would have if it had just been the two of us even when you consider smaller accommodations and transport.

As nice as it would have been to unwind in one of Nashville’s beautiful downtown hotels, it was not happening. It would have cost us a small fortune to stay there. Instead we opted to use AirBNB (my first, but definitely not my last experience). We rented an entire house for the 5 days and cost each couple the equivalent of one night at one of these fancy hotels. We all loved having a home to come back to every day. We had our own (big) rooms, bathroom, full kitchen and laundry. It was great and very much our ‘traveling style’ in terms of comfort. I loved it. The location was only a 5 minute ride from downtown too.

Another area we saved in was transportation. We briefly toyed with the idea of renting a car but in the end decided we’d all rather just rely on Uber which was well established in the city. I freaking love Uber. It is, arguably one of the best apps and services I have ever used. It’s not well established really anywhere here in Canada but I can pretty much guarantee we’ll continue using it while traveling. We went everywhere in Uber from the airport to the Grand ‘ol Opry (which was a decent distance away from us). In 5 days we only spent a total of $150 (Canadian) in Uber rides, for $25 per person it was well worth getting picked up and dropped off basically wherever we wanted. I should add that we were strategic in using our ”1st free ride” with Uber among four of us for the longest hauls (two poor souls are on Blackberry and can’t access Uber app). I also can’t really put a price on the experience with the Uber drivers we met. Everyone was so nice and helpful.

We had some savings on food an alcohol as we did buy groceries and cook breakfast/have snacks at home every day. We’d have a larger breakfast at the house and a late lunch/early dinner out every day instead of three square meals which saved on overall meal expenses.

Lack of shopping also helped. This was never a ”shopping trip” especially with the poor Canadian dollar but the few things we did buy were good deals. I ended up buying a watch (something I’ve been looking at for a while) at a 50% off sale (which ended up being more than 50% off!). Retails at the stores here for $125.00 CND, after the discounts, I paid $35 USD, even with dollar conversion it’s still a good deal for a quality watch with a warranty. One of the best purchases I’ve made in a while.

There were a few splurges (like a stretch limo airport pickup and tour of the city as a surprise birthday gift to hubby) but we were very conscious in where our money went and enjoyed everything. Nashville was a great city and we can’t wait to go back some day!

How do you decide where to save/splurge while on vacation?